About 75 percent of the small town of Pilger, Nebraska, was wiped out by rare twin tornadoes on Monday night, killing two residents and severely injuring 16 others.
Responding to the devastation, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has deployed to Pilger to help serve this hurting community of 378 residents.
“We just had our eyes on the major section of town that was damaged,” said Al New, deployment manager for the Rapid Response Team, who is in Pilger with his wife, Toni. “A lot of silos or grain elevators, cars, trucks and buildings completely destroyed.”
One of the fatalities from the suspected EF4 twister was a 5-year-old girl, who was pulled out of the rubble by rescue workers and later pronounced dead at the hospital.
“Our chaplain team will go throughout the community, ministering, giving emotional and spiritual care to first responders and especially homeowners and the pastors in this area,” New said.
Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, issued a statement Tuesday:
“The reports we’ve received about yesterday’s storms are devastating,” said Franklin Graham. “This community lost everything including their town’s business district and fire station.”
Teams from the Rapid Response Team and Samaritan’s Purse will work together to help meet the emotional, spiritual and physical needs.
“Most of the businesses are destroyed,” Rapid Response Team international director Jack Munday said. “It’s pretty chaotic on the ground—they’re trying to secure the area for safety.”
The Rapid Response Team asks that you pray for this small Nebraska community.
“First of all, please keep the residents of Pilger and the surrounding area in your prayers,” New said. “They’ll have a hard time ahead of them. They’re expecting more storms here tonight.
“Pray for the chaplain team as well as Samaritan’s Purse, who is also here trying to help homeowners clean up.”
About The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team: Since launching in the aftermath of 9/11, the Rapid Response Team has deployed to more than 175 disasters, including four states during the spring tornado outbreak in late April. The Rapid Response Team draws on a network of volunteer crisis-trained chaplain throughout 48 states.